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Exercise Palladium Strike

By Cpl. David Thomas
First published in
SFOR Informer#102, December 6, 2000

Manjaca - The 15 “Coyotes” advance in rows closed-up in the meadow, the first five cross the road followed closely by the other ten. The enemy is located. He is at the foot of one of the hills on Manjaca Range. The armoured fighting vehicles of the Canadian light infantry open fire. The exercise “Palladium Strike” has just started.

“It is a test on our operational capabilities for the whole of the theatre because these ranges are very complex,” said Lt. Col. Michael Fawcett, from B Company of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), who directed the fifth exercise of the week.

The scenario is simple; once the enemy is located, the armoured fighting vehicles must be used as a fire support base using their various weapon systems. Then the section can be deployed in a tight formation. Marksmen will be used as force recce for this mission which is deploying 100 men.

“It’s frustrating, compared to Canada, space is not large enough, so only half-battalion takes part in the exercise,” specified Fawcett. Only 35 vehicles (15 Coyote and a score of Bison and Grizzly) and a section are deployed on the battlefield.

After the first salvos of Coyote, the platoon moves up. A smoke screen is laid allowing some significant ground to be taken. Six men, leaving marksmen behind, move out as scouts under cover of supporting fire.

The enemy counter-attacks and halts the section advance for 5 minutes. Two sappers move up to lay a charge to make a breach in the wire.
“Take cover” is the command. The battle is then able to move on at last. A rocket launcher is used and the enemy is falling back. A final burst of machine-gun fire is enough. The enemy is defeated.

“Cease fire” is shouted at the head of the platoon. The positions are captured. The infantry checks around the enemy position to ensure that all is covered and the situation stable. The exercise is over and the section returns to the start line.
“The goal was to use all our weapons and to exert our teams in order to maintain our capacity for war. Especially that of our light infantry, that was very well done,” said Fawcett.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Canada
Training and Exercises